Tips and Tricks

 

Tips, Tricks, and “Traps”
I’ve learned along the way……..For the couple, the Moms, the maid of honor, etc…. PLUS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS…….

(Copy link in address bar, and send it to those who might need to info, and find it helpful)

 

 


FOR THE COUPLE……

THE TOP 10 OR SO THINGS THE COUPLE SHOULD KNOW.

1. Us 3, MAKE A TEAM……

If you are flying solo at this meeting, or individually received this digitally- please share with your soon to be spouse!!!! That way, the three of us are a team, and each know what to expect from me.

That also means, you, my couple is “my client”. I no longer schedule additional meetings with parents, even if they are footing the bill. Please invite any and all to our initial consultation, but all communication, contract, phone calls, emails, meetings are exclusively between you guys and me. If mothers/mothers in law/maid of honors want to add/minus services or have questions/concerns, all contact goes from you to me and back in the same direction)…. This way I honor your wishes above all else, and keep my sanity!


2. COMMUNICATION IS KEY-

Leading up to the wedding- It is your job to reach out to me if you have questions, need suggestions, or to schedule a styling consultation, (ideally within 3 months of booking). I’m totally here to help, but I’m not someone who will call to “check in”….ask my friends lol. So reach out to me, within reason, if you need some guidance or problem solving.

Secondly, know that I will tell you each personally if there’s anything you need to know on my end….so if someone comes up saying “the photographer is sooooo mad at the groomsmen for being too wild”, 1. Chances are that is soooo untrue, and 2. If there’s an issue I’ll deal with it Directly and discreetly and you do not need to be worried about a thing! That also means, that unless told by me, no one speaks for me. For example, the property owner specifying what time the groom needs to be ready (and they show up 4 hrs. early in tuxes in 101 degree weather for photos looking at me like I’m the one that required it), or the wedding planner saying to be ready at different times and then we are working against one another.


3. TIMELINE-

Although it is not the responsibility of the photographer to construct or enforce a timeline…in order to get all the pics you might want, and keep a happy groom, I have put some templates under the timeline page, under wedding tab to get some good ideas! IF YOU ARE WORKING WITHOUT THE HELP OF A PLANNER, using one of these templates will save your day. I have a favorite timeline, as labeled. If you veer off that timeline or create your own, it is solely your responsibility to enforce and if you loose time or not have the pics you want, please know that is not my responsibility. If you are working with a planner, please let her know I will need more than 45 minutes if you are doing all family, wedding party, and couples immediately following ceremony and that I will you again around golden hour prior to 7 pm 🙂 for “sunset pics”.

Good timeline = More photos + less stress.

Construct your timeline ASAP. Please plan your timeline accordingly…..if working with a planner let them know that I have suggested these “rules”. Having time planned in throughout the day for pics means I can do my job better, and you all can relax. When you run late, and leave 3 minutes for your bridal portrait and bridesmaids photos, you are wanting me to give what I give to my other brides, but with no time to execute. The more you plan, and stay on time, the more photos you will have! Please send me your timeline for review as possible. For weddings planned after 3:30 please consider a first look, as my goal is to have 3 hours for my grooms to have no expectations at the end of the night. I also want time to do what you have hired me for, which is a variety of fun poses in various locations that reflect my style. Having little to no time to do this, means we are both disappointed. Plus, often waiting until after ceremony means family pics, wedding party pics, and couples pics, can mean 1. We are rushed to do all your posed pics within a one hour cocktail hour…argh, or 2. your man is already completely “pictured out” by the time you guys get your couple pics, the ones you actually want for your home.

Bride

In planning your day, it is helpful for Bride to have minimum of 3 hours between the time you are completely ready and ceremony time! This is a great opportunity to take your bridal portraits and bridesmaids pics, plus makes a bride’s day way less stressful! Bride 3 hours before ceremony. if I say 3, its likely to be 2 or less and that leaves little time for bridesmaids pics, bridal portrait, transport to venue, plus time to be”put away” before guests arrive.

Grooms and Groomsmen

I try to not have you guys suited up with hours to spare….you all get too hot and too cranky! So aim to be ready 2 hrs before ceremony. Within 1 hr of ceremony time you should be at ceremony site greeting and seating your guests.*** I try to meet up with boys with pants and shirts on only nearby, or at the venue, so I can get final detail shots of them getting ready without sending a second shooter, in mansland another whole photographer to deal with. Please plan your timeline such that I can leave girls and get pics of the guys for about 20 minutes (Something to consider when brides and groom are getting ready more than 5 minutes away from eachother).

Bridesmaids

If bridesmaids are not getting ready with bride, or having their makeup/hair done elsewhere, please make sure they come to location completely ready with 3.5 hours to spare before ceremony. That means One hr before the bride gets into her dress, Plus the additional hour to take photos prior to ceremony.-Bridesmaids-3.5 hrs before ceremony
Our goal is to have time for bridesmaids pics, bridal portrait, and groomsmen’s pics out of the way prior to ceremony.

If brides want boudoir shots before putting on dress, make sure you have planned about 10-15 minutes for that!

 

**********NOTE! I EAT RIGHT AFTER THE BRIDE AND GROOM EAT…..THIS WAY I DONT MISS TOASTS. SPEECHES. SUNSET PICS, FIRST DANCE ETC. ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME WILL TELL YOU I WILL NOT HAVE SAT DOWN UNTIL THIS POINT.


4. THINGS TO HAVE WITH BRIDE THE MORNING OF- Packed by Bride, checked by Maid of Honor

Dress and shoes- Unless you are getting ready at a salon, please have your dress with you in the morning. photos of both the dress and shoes helps to tell the “story” of your day.

Bouquet Ask Florist to have your bouquet delivered early. Make arrangements to have your bouquet and the bridesmaid’s bouquets delivered to your room early. This way they are ready and available for photographs.

Invitation/Save the date card– Please consider bringing an invitation and save the date card with stationary if you want it in your wedding album.

ALL/BOTH RINGS/wedding and engagement– If you want ring pics, they need to be taken in the morning. Otherwise the reception and requests guests have gets soooo bonkers, the ring shot gets forgotten at the reception. So if you want ring pics, bride must have them all beforehand!


5. PACE YOURSELVES!-

I love that it’s a party! But just try to pace yourselves and save the big drinking for after the ceremony…we usually get all the wedding party shots done right after, then game on donkey kong!


6. ROAD TRIP

My signature, as the thing that sets me apart from most photographers is a wedding party “road-trip” before/after your ceremony…….of venue is limiting, it might mean cars. It may be just a walk, to other parts of venue or neighboring property. Super fun, If not doing a first look, it doesn’t mean leaving your party for long, and makes for incredible pics! Be planning on sober transportation! And let DJ know he will be announcing you for the first time upon return to your reception to keep party moving!


7. SHOT LIST

Family pics are immediately following ceremony, unless you are doing a first look, including family pics and want all photos out of the way before the ceremony. Family pics can go quicker with a shot list. Any other photos you are obsessed with getting can also be listed here, i.e. if an out of town person is coming that you want to have a photo with, or a special heirloom. Throughout the day, I will try my hardest to get all the pics you want on this list…….but know if I’m running around getting a photo or the organist or the gift table, I might be missing even something cooler.
Also, during your party I will most likely ask, “is there any other photos you may want”…..that is your chance to say yes or no, not months later!

*****Please note, and brides can tell you….if family pics are taking too long and there are just one more and one more and one more, and I’m a. losing the groom, 2. losing time, or 3. losing light, I’m going to stick up for my bride and say “no more”. It is not fair to my couple when parents take all the photo time. I want you all to get everything you want, but never at the cost of my couple 🙂


8. FAMILY FIGHTS-

If there are guests that do not get along, please give me the heads up so I can help by not putting them next to one another in photos! Tell me as much as I “should” know. Remarriges, nasty divorces, lousy siblings, etc! This way I can “know everything” without acting as if I know anything!


9. PAPARIZZI-……

and this is a big one…….

As stipulated in contract, no guest is allowed to take duplicate photos of the photos I pose (wedding party, couple). This is for your protection. Your photos are not being put on social media before you, the paying client, have a chance to enjoy them and select what you want put out there. It also protects me and doesn’t look like I just took a better quality photo of everything you have already saw!!! Included is a postcard to give your officiant to ask guests to be respectful of this policy without you feeling any pressure to enforce it. Please do not worry about it on your wedding day, I will deal with it. But, if you know that there are paparazzi guests, or mom-a-razzis, please let them know beforehand that they are free to snap off family shots, and candids, but any posed photos are the exclusive property of photographer and couple.


10. CONSIDER INTERVIEWING REFERRED VENDORS FIRST

-Assembling the “dream team” makes your day ummm, well literally, “makes your day”. I have 4 wedding planners I stand behind, 2-3 favorite Djs that rock, 2-3 videographers who are amazing, 2 dreamy florists, 3 makeup artists I adore, 2 hair girls who are sooo good, etc. I am super picky! I do not refer professionals who I do not think deserve it. Please ask for referrals until I can update site with all their info…coming soon


 11. LASTLY….are you stuck between loving a few photographers?

PERSONALILITY: Pick a photographer that you would pick as a friend. Do not just chose a person based on YELP. This person is with you the entire day, and in many cases the entire process. They need to be someone both of you like and trust. Also, will your Dad listen to them or be like “no way” lol! Having the right person to fir in with your crowd is key to a carefree day. Absolutely all my brides and grooms say that their families and guests asked who their photographer was and was I a personal friend of the family!!! Winning!

Keep in mind that as your journey continues, sometimes there are pregnancies, babies, vow renewals, etc.  Pick someone that you guys might want to come along and capture that journey with you.

 

STYLE: Love the person, and love their style. Do they use natural light, flashes, Fun locations and poses. You must love their style to love their photos, and who they are + their style is what determines how great a photographer is!

 

REVIEWS: Read reviews….. what are peoples experiences? I have a bad review! I postponed an engagement session ( that was 2 years in advance) to the following weekend, when I scored my absolute dream job interview, with an offer to drive an additional 5 hours round trip and help with outfits/locations/etc….which did not work in her world….and “scored” me a bad review. Do I care? In this particular case, NOT ONE BIT, lol (I’m actually cracking up while I’m typing this cause its soooo hard to not say funny unprofessional things ) ….I knew what I was asking was reasonable/professional/and fair, and I was willing to go the extra mile to even make it up…but reviews do matter, and the hundred + great ones, do let you know I take my job seriously, am skilled and trustworthy!

 

STYLIZED SHOOTS: TO ME THIS IS A HUGE RED FLAG! Look for tricks of the trade…..Are their photos of real weddings? All photographers have a chance to shoot a stylized shoot for advertising/collaborations for stores, etc, YAY!…but lots of photographers plan/pay for fake weddings to primarily show their talent. To me, that’s totally unrealistic for what an average bride can expect for their own photos, with endless time, no schedule, constant hair and makeup styling, etc. (Look for same model over and over, variety of locations and couples, etc.)

If they are “fake” weddings, not only are their photos unrealistic, you want a photographer who has experience of dealing with weddings and all the hiccups that inevitably can happen on that day!

 

USE OF FILTERS: Awesome in 2018 maybe……but certainly not timeless. Don’t get caught up in the filter…cause you can always add on for social media, but more importantly keep the photo without the filter when it becomes untrendy.

 

EXPERIENCE: Are all their photos of only a few couples? Everyone has to start somewhere…..I did too! My price reflected my inexperience and that was the tradeoff for my first few couples…but you may/may not want to trust your day with a brand new person.

 

PRICE: Don’t just compare price! You are hiring a “person” as well as a service. Don’t assume a lower or higher price means someone is better or worse…..I feel my price is competitive and fair, but I also see photographers in the $6000 range who’s work I don’t think buries mine….and never my styling and poses.

 

EXPRESSION: Are the photos carefree and the people look genuinely happy and comfortable? This tells you so much about what you and your guests can expect to experience.

 

EDITING: Are the photos highly edited? Editing should enhance photos never change photos….so keep it in mind while “shopping”.

 

SERIVICE: Try to see if they are product based or service based. If an album isn’t included from one photographer but another provides it, remember that’s a difference of $100 +/- so worry about the service that can/cannot be duplicated not something minimal you can do on your own.

 

VARIETY: Does the photographer only have a certain “Type” of couple? Or physique……Make sure your photographer has all shapes, sizes, same sex couples, etc…that best match you. That way seeing how comfortable they look in their photos ensures you are likely to have the same experience! I LOVE ALL TYPES, HAVE PHOTOGRAPHED AND EMPHASIZED THE BEAUTY IN ALL TYPES!!!!

 


FOR “HER MOM”…..

THE TOP 10 TIPS FOR THE MOTHER OF THE BRIDE

 

Congratulations! These are the days we think about our whole lives…..Here are some tips to make your day the day you deserve…….

LEADING UP TO THE WEDDING……..

  1. JUMP IN THE BACKESEAT……..Most important, and maybe sucky to hear, but this is your daughter’s day. Yes, it is incredible, and amazing, and worth soooo much money and effort, but try to remember your place is “in the backseat of the car” :)…..The great news about that, is this is your chance to relax, and watch with your mom eyes, feel with your mom heart, and just take the day in.

  2. $$$$$…….If you are helping with finances, you/you and your husband/you and your ex-husband, whatever the scenario, pick a number are happy with, and beyond that #, it is up to them. That way you are not resentful, stressed, or bitter throughout the wedding planning and certainly not on the wedding day

  3. PLAN…..The more you can have done beforehand, the less chance you are up until 3 am the night before or setting up tables and cooking a potluck when you should be getting your hair done and drinking champagne!

  4. DELEGATE….Have a bff who can help with table settings, or a friend who is organized and wonderful….now is a great time to call in the troops. Delegate jobs in the days leading up to the wedding and especially on wedding day!!!!!! This does not mean to delegate too much on the wedding day TO THE GROOM OR HIS GUYS, AND NOT TOO MUCH TO THE BRIDE’S DAD AND BROTHERS. Remember to let them enjoy the day as well. Nothing spoils your time more than a cranky, sweaty overworked husband…..so be sweet, and call in the girl power. Lets be honest a group of women can outwork any men lol.

  5. SHOPPING…..Ask your daughter to narrow down your color choices to 2-3 colors…..then start shopping for your own outfit early! Nothing is more disappointing than a Mama that is disappointed in her outfit and knows she settled. So start looking early and blame it on me :).

  6. SCHEDULE PROFESSIONAL HAIR AND MAKEUP….This is super important….

    1. YOU’VE EARNED IT! You’ve raised the bride!

    2.  Everyone you know will be seeing you.

    3.  You want to love your photos

    4.  A professional can probably do it better than you can.

    5.  It’s time to enjoy the girls

    6.  It’s time to relax and destress.

    7. Schedule your hair and makeup first thing in the morning! That way you can be “on deck” to help with the venue if needed and you are photo ready to help get your daughter into her dress.

  7. You will be getting your daughter into her dress (alone) for a few minutes on the wedding day. This is one on one time for you and your girl to be together.

  8. Have a second, once you are ready to see/greet your husband. Make it a deliberate moment. Together you have earned it. Maybe pin his boutineer on or just take a second to be his girlfriend ……don’t be so rushed and stressed that you pass this opportunity up.

  9. Know where to be and when, then, as the matriarch, send off the message. If the bride wants all family pics beforehand, please be there, even if its early in the day, and notify all the MVPs, needed for photos, of the time and location.

  10. PHOTOGRAPHY-

    1. Just so we are super on the same page….here’s what you can expect from me, and fully understand my guidelines and position

      1. Please know, I am such an advocate of yours, an admiring “fan”, but the couple is “my client”. Even if you are paying the bill, they are my client and all communication comes and goes thru them. In this way, I am respecting their needs above all others and there are no disappointments, miscommunications,etc.

      2. If invited by your daughter, you are welcome to come to the initial consultation, but I do not plan a consult between mothers and myself, unless the “bride” is out of town, etc. I also do not field tons of emails and phone calls from the “moms”. Please feel free to reach out with concerns or an occasional question, but communication is mainly between the bride and myself.

      3. Outside of the photos of you helping your daughter into her dress, most family photos are scheduled immediately following first look (before ceremony) or immediately following ceremony. (Your daughter will be choosing this based on the timeline and what makes the most sense). Many quick combinations are called out by me….Bride and her mother, bride and her father, bride with both parents, bride with stepparent, siblings, bride with grandparents, etc…..I am great at this part of my job, quick, decisive, appropriate, and inclusive, BUT LET ME DO MY THING, and if I’ve missed something., please let me know at the end.

      4. TRY to enjoy the day through your mom eyes…..not your iPhone snapping photos like a crazy person! I’m hired to do that….trust that I will capture the day, and let you be “present” in the moment.

      5. Guests are so welcome to take any family photo I am taking. But I do ask, as an artist, that if I set up a shot….wedding party, the couple, etc, that It is only taken by me. I feel like that is my vision and I am protective over my craft and the element of surprise for the couple when I present their photos. I very much appreciate you knowing my policy and reminding others whom you see kinda crowding in on the photography.

      6. All photo requests….are done after the couples “list”, and my personal “list” (what I think needs to be done) as an artist. This in no way means you cannot say “Darby, can we get a photo with all the cousins, or my college friends, etc….but it does mean if you ask me for 50 photos on a handwritten list, it wont go over well. NOTE: I had a groom get heat exhaustion from the “list” a mom gave, and remained sick his entire wedding day. If I think photos have gone on too long, that Im missing wedding party shots, or couples shots because the family pics are taking over the day, IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY AND OBLIGATION to my client, the couple, to move on.

THE FOLLOWING IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THE BRIDE’S “FAMILY PORTRAITS” on wedding day…..

Bride and mother, Bride with father, bride with both (stepparents), bride with siblings, whole family, whole family with new son in law, bride with grandparents, bride and groom with grandparents, whole immediate family with grandparents, bride and groom with all extended family from Dad’s side, bride and groom with group photo from mom’s side. QUICK, INCLUSIVE, BEAUTIFUL…..

 

LASTLY….HOW DO YOU GET YOUR PHOTOS….

So, about 3 days after the wedding I post a handful of favorites to the Couple’s facebook Acct. This allows them and many guests to see some highlights from their wedding. These are small websize images that I recommend not screen shotting and enlarging.

About 1 month later the couple receives a link to their personalized photo gallery. I do not give out the link to anyone but them. Once they have enjoyed their link, they have the option to share that link with family and friends……

You now have lots of options. You can buy a full set of digital images for yourself and/or opt to buy you favorite images and have the print sent to your home directly. small to very large archival prints are available, including archival canvases for your home. Payment is made, directly through you, and shipped directly to your home. You can also opt to make an album from you digital downloads or order an album designed by me.

This system allows both parents access to view and own any wedding photos they wish to own without the financial pressure placed on the newlyweds.

 

 


FOR “HIS MOM”…..
THE TOP TIPS FOR THE MOTHER OF THE GROOM

Ahhhhh, your baby boy! Here are some tips to know where to be, what to do…..

LEADING UP TO THE WEDDING……..

1.ALSO JUMP IN THE BACKESEAT……..Like I told her Mama, most important, and maybe sucky to hear, but this is your Daughter in law and Son’s day. Yes, it is incredible, and amazing, and worth soooo much money and effort, but try to remember your place is “in the backseat of the car” :)…..The great news about that, is this is your chance to relax, and watch with your mom eyes, feel with your mom heart, and take the day in.

2. ASK WHERE YOU SHOULD BE, WHAT TIME, AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE …..Moms of the Groom aren’t sure of their role in their Son’s wedding day but nothing says team player like those who want to help. Look at this like an opportunity to assist her Mom, and your new daughter in planning this day for both of your families. Be easy, be agreeable, be helpful…..she will remember your efforts forever, or conversely never forget them….

3. SHOPPING.….Ask your Daughter in Law to narrow down your color choices to 2-3 colors…..then start shopping for your own outfit early! Nothing is more disappointing than a Mama that is disappointed in her outfit and knows she settled. Choose a dress your son will like….he will appreciate the effort and love the gesture.

So start looking early and blame it on me :).

4.SCHEDULE PROFESSIONAL HAIR AND MAKEUP….This is super important….
YOU’VE EARNED IT! You’ve raised the groom! Ask your daughter in law if she knows of someone, if there is time with her people, or where she would like you to go.

Reasons for professional hair and makeup……

1. Everyone you know will be seeing you.
2. You want to love your photos
3. A professional can probably do it better than you can.
4. It’s time to relax and destress.
Schedule your hair and makeup first thing in the morning! That way you can be “on deck” to help with the venue if needed.

5. You will be pinning your son’s boutineer on him before he walks down the aisle on the wedding day. This is one on one time for you and your son to be together. Schedule to be on time for that.

6. Once you are ready, make a deliberate moment to see/greet your husband. Together you have earned it. Maybe pin his boutineer on or just take a second to be his girlfriend ……don’t be so rushed and stressed that you pass this opportunity up.

7. Know where to be and when, then, as the matriarch, send off the message. If the bride wants all family pics beforehand, please be there, even if its early in the day, and notify all the MVPs, needed for photos, of the time and location.

8. PHOTOGRAPHY
1. Just so we are super on the same page….here’s what you can expect from me, and fully understand my guidelines and position

              1.Please know, I am such an advocate of yours, an admiring “fan”, but the couple is “my client”. Even if you are paying the bill, they are my client and all communication comes and goes thru them. In this way, I am respecting their needs above all others and there are no disappointments, miscommunications, etc.

              2. If invited by your son, you are welcome to come to the initial consultation, but I do not plan a consult between mothers and myself, unless the “couple” is out of town, etc. I also do not field tons of emails and phone calls from the “moms”. Please feel free to reach out with concerns or an occasional question, but communication is mainly between the bride and myself.

            3. Outside of the photos of pinning on your Son’s boutineer, most family photos are scheduled immediately following first look (before ceremony) or immediately following ceremony. (Your son will be choosing this based on the timeline and what makes the most sense).Many quick combinations are called out by me….Groom and his mother, Groom and his father, Groom with both parents, Groom with stepparent, siblings, Groom with grandparents, etc…..I am great at this part of my job, quick, decisive, appropriate, and inclusive, BUT LET ME DO MY THING, and if I’ve missed something., please let me know at the end.

             4.TRY to enjoy the day through your mom eyes…..not your iPhone snapping photos like a crazy person! I’m hired to do that….trust that I will capture the day, and let you be “present” in the moment.

              5. Guests are so welcome to take any family photo I am taking. But I do ask, as an artist, that if I set up a shot….wedding party, the couple, etc, that It is only taken by me. I feel like that is my vision and I am protective over my craft and the element of surprise for the couple when I present their photos. I very much appreciate you knowing my policy and reminding others whom you see kinda crowding in on the photography.

             6. All photo requests….are done after the couples “list”, and my personal “list” (what I think needs to be done) as an artist. This in no way means you cannot say “Darby, can we get a photo with all the cousins, or my college friends, etc….but it does mean if you ask me for 50 photos on a handwritten list, it wont go over well. NOTE: I had a groom get heat exhaustion from the “list” a mom gave, and remained sick his entire wedding day. If I think photos have gone on too long, that Im missing wedding party shots, or couples shots because the family pics are taking over the day, IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY AND OBLIGATION to my client, the couple, to move on.

THE FOLLOWING IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THE GROOM’S “FAMILY PORTRAITS” on wedding day…..
Groom and mother, Groom with father, Groom with both (stepparents), groom with siblings, whole family, whole family with new daughter in law, Groom with grandparents, Groom and bride with grandparents, whole immediate family with grandparents, Groom and bride with all extended family from Dad’s side, Groom and Bride with group photo from mom’s side. QUICK, INCLUSIVE, BEAUTIFUL…..

LASTLY….HOW DO YOU GET YOUR PHOTOS….

So, about 3 days after the wedding I post a handful of favorites to the Couple’s facebook Acct. This allows them and many guests to see some highlights from their wedding. These are small websize images that I recommend not screen shotting and enlarging.

About 1 month later the couple receives a link to their personalized photo gallery. I do not give out the link to anyone but them. Once they have enjoyed their link, they have the option to share that link with family and friends……

You now have lots of options. You can buy a full set of digital images for yourself, and/or opt to buy you favorite images and have the print sent to your home directly. small to very large archival prints are available, including archival canvases for your home. Payment is made, directly through you, and shipped directly to your home. You can also opt to make an album from you digital downloads or order an album designed by me.
This system allows both parents access to view and own any wedding photos they wish to own without the financial pressure placed on the newlyweds.

 


 

 

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